Tales of Radiant Mythology Fanfic

Under bound boughs:

Introduction, Up a tree

An AU of a sort, considering TORM part one is totally AU I don't know if you can do an AU of an AU, we'll see. A Tales of Radiant Mythology fic that exchanges Luke/Tear for Asch/Natalia for the Tales of Abyss cameo and explores the effects there of. Set in the games' timeline it will occasionally run in with the Descender arch, but perhaps not as much as it should. This is going to be a sporadically updated project, not very high priority but I want to toss it out there mainly to get the idea out of my mind more than anything else.

So without further ado, the story.

Edited on 1/27/11 for typos

"Natal?" He sounded so pathetic, a man responsible for inspiring fears and phobias just by mentioning his name. Mistaken for a demon on dark days, -his crimson hair was a bad omen to the superstitious folks of Daath- it was odd to think of him sounding pathetic.

But when a man faced temptation and duty and was torn between the two that might be expected.

Raking a black gloved hand through red hair, to slick it back least the wind push it into his eyes, he didn't drop his gaze despite how duty, propriety, and common sense told him he should.

The view was just too good to pass up.

A few crunches from on high served as a warning. Early spring, tail end winter's brittle bark crunched as she scaled up the tree. One turn, and his view was blocked by foliage, she was just a gold topped clothe glimpsed wonder spied through the leaves. Said leaves rustled and she crept from one branch to the other.

He sighed, and wished she was in better view, there could be monsters up there and all and he couldn't defend (or spy) her when she was out of his range of sight like that.

"Seriously Natal! You can save the cat another day it's not like K-"

"Here Kitty Kitty!"

She was being this loud on propose. All but hollering to drown him out.

Alright, so he was being a mite mean, but really, this wasn't Auldrant, these people weren't his concern and he didn't like cats.

Truth be told, he was a dog person.

All in all this was just idiotic, and he'd have told her that had she bothered to listen. But she didn't, wouldn't. So intent on helping others she suspended all sense, and thus he was dragged along. Stupid cat. Stupid tree town. Even stupider tree town brat who'd walked a cat to an even larger tree (called Yggdrizl or something) and letting go of the freaking leash of all the stupid things.

If this was what someone did to become a member of Ab Libitum… well lone vigilante hood had never looked better.

Well, with one tiny exception. If he worked by himself he wouldn't be working with her, now would he? And despite her overbearing altruistic streak well, he wasn't going to complain.

Well he hadn't meant to, but it was getting late and all…

Lunch had been a few hours ago, and his stomach growled softly to tell him how much it would appreciate dinner right now.

Another crack, like a limb snapping, he did as he had always done when it sounded like the branches were going. Asch paced under the last spot she'd disappeared too, head craned up, concern stamped across his face.

What if she fell? She'd fallen before, had a history truth be told. And while he'd been there to catch her last time, this was quite a bit higher and...

And it fell from on high. A pinecone smacked into his skull. Than another, and another. He covered his head, snarled, danced out of the girl's limited range.

She met his hostility with a healthy dose of her own.

"If you keep looking at me like that you'll be Asch the Bloody Nosed!" Natalia growled.

"It's not like that!" Asch snapped.

Unknown to the two, there came a rustle from a lower point on the tree, and an orange tabby shimmied down the trunk and skipped away. Or rather it would have, had not a certain pink haired girl snapped it up.

XXX

"So." Kanonno said with a smile. "Their fussing and hollering struck up such a row that they scared the cat right out of the tree. So, I picked him up and brought him right here."

Said cat, an oversized orange and red tom hung in the girl's hands with a limp, pathetic, indignation that all felines had when held by the scruff. The pink haired girl's superior, a sullen seeming man in mauve armor sighed. The motion caused the flared cloth shoulder pads of his armor to shiver just so. The auburn hair, ever and always in his face obscuring one eye, did not stir. But then it ever and always defied nature in its own little way.

"Kanonno, about that lost cat posting…"

From outside, sounding like the wraith of a pantheon of irate feline demi gods, came a screamed "Merow!"

After that scream there came another, masculine, human, and pained. "Ow, crap, catch her!"

"Got her-" A thud, both Ab Libitum members winced at that sound. "Ow, ouch, cease and desist you… you cur!"

The scuffle drew closer, above the row a young man's hoarse voice barked out. "I'll grab the fore, you get the hind."

Kanonno's pretty green eyes were wide, her delicate face demurely pale, to that Kratos smiled, an effort to reassure. "Well, suffice to say. The cat that went missing today was a she-cat, Ms. Kanonno."

"Oh."

The melee outside was drawing closer.

"But I do thank you for giving the meeting hall a new mascot, I do appreciate your thoughtfulness."

Grinning, the girl nodded. "Unlike Lloyd's unthoughtfulness?" The girl teased, familiar twinkle back in her eyes. "Who let the last one out?"

Muttering something that might have been "the last three" Kratos fished out Raine's book from under the woman's desk. He'd be more than content when Ms. Sage kicked off her latest spat of flu and came back to work. Her handwriting as a sin against the Gods and Radiant both. Until then he flipped open he book to its pages of potential recruits. The newest two Asch Sauguan and Natalia Luzu kept each other company on a blank meritless page.

Perhaps, maybe, they'd have a point at day's end.

"Stop squirming." Asch's voice clearly, he doubted that Ms. Natalia's voice could be that deep.

There came a scream, form the cat Kratos devoutly prayed. The newest mascot of the Allily Ab Libitum chapter looked up at Kratos, wide eyed and griped by some instinctual dread. He tried to ignore the fact that Kanonno was staring at him much the same way.

So, to counter there fears he acted as if this was any other day.

"Please get the door and let them in." The ex-mercenary murmured. "And then fetch a gel from storage, please."

"OK." Dread forgotten, the girl smiled. "What type of gel?"

A thud, a curse, closer now, and clearly the girl could swear as well as her male partner. Amusing that. "Miracle." Kratos ordered